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6000 customers per month buy direct from Sussex biodynamic farm.

It’s a biodynamic success story – a sustainably-run mixed farm with a dairy herd, sheep, pigs and laying hens, as well as 12 acres of market gardens, a dairy processing unit and a butchery. Plaw Hatch Farm in Sussex is far removed from the world of intensive agriculture, yet 6,000 people visit every month and 95 per cent of the profits come from its on-site farm shop.

Plaw Hatch Farm is 400 acres of agricultural land on the edge of the Ashdown Forest near Sharpthorne. It is owned by a charitable trust, so it can never be developed, and it aims to produce as wide a range of food as possible and sell it to the local community. Plaw Hatch Farm sells raw, unprocessed milk, and also makes money by turning what’s left into dairy products.

We asked Plaw Hatch Farm’s Garden Manager, Nir Halfon, about it on a visit to the Oxford Real Farming conference.

Biodynamic farming depends on a balanced agricultural system with complimentary crops and farming techniques within one farm setting. Plaw Hatch Farm says its biodynamic agricultural approach “values sustainable husbandry of the land and responsible and loving welfare of the animals”.

Around 25 people work on the farm, with 20 people living there. There are 5 different agricultural enterprises which work together at Plaw Hatch Farm and the shop also sells produce from local, organic growers and producers.

Nir Halfon said: ”The idea is that a family can come and do their weekly shop and they can get everything from dry goods to fresh vegetables and eggs, milk and dairy products, meat, flour, bread, and so on. We try to source as much of our product as we can from the local community and promoting other local businesses. It is really amazing that a small but diverse farm can feed a lot of people.”

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